Horlicks is back on the favourites list for tired Millennials – but does it really help you sleep?


This morning I was interviewed by Jackie Brambles during her morning show on BBC Radio Scotland, regarding a piece in The Guardian about the rise in popularity of Horlicks after many years of declining sales.

For those of you outside of Bonny Scotland who didn’t listen here’s a recap on the salient points and some tips, tricks or hacks on how to get better quality sleep and more of it too.

Sleep is about quality and quantity and not either or! The likely reason that Horlicks is growing in popularity with our millennial’s is that they are struggling to get off to sleep and be sufficiently relaxed at bedtime to easily drift off to sleep and so are trying to find an antidote to their restlessness.

We are all too aware that screens dominate our lives, whether it’s to respond to a few emails, scroll through social media or watch a video or two. You’re probably also aware that the blue light emitted from the screen has a negative impact on the brain as it keeps us awake by suppressing melatonin, the hormone which sends us to sleep. But, it seems our addiction to screens is a hard habit to break when our entire lives exist in these devices.

So, does a hot milky drink really make you sleepy? Based on my research and personal experience the answer is yes! When used in conjunction with good sleep hygiene. Milk contains the sleep-inducing amino acid tryptophan and coupled with the process of having a hot drink, making it, waiting for it to cool and drinking it slowly whilst relaxing – aids in the process of making you feel sleepy. However, if you’re adding powders such as Horlicks or hot chocolate then you should watch out! The sugar content of the condiments is going to stimulate your brain and potentially have the opposite effect!

I am a huge advocate for turmeric latte, so much so I developed my own blend. Turmeric is a super spice with some astonishing nutritional benefits which I have written about in more detail in a previous blog, in which I highlight turmeric’s antioxidant properties. When our body experiences oxidative stress, caused by free radicals in the atmosphere such as carbon monoxide, germs, bacteria – that can damage cells, it affects several functions including our ability to sleep. Thus, consuming antioxidant rich food is a way of combating this which has been shown to help you fall asleep and stay asleep, incidentally the act of sleeping itself produces antioxidants in the body so it’s a win win!

If you are more inclined to drink herbal tea before bedtime you may have heard of Valerian root listed as one of the ingredients in your tea. Valerian root has long been used as a sleep and relaxation inducer and contains compounds that promote sleep; just a teaspoon (450 – 900mg) added to a hot drink can do the trick. Or just stick to the simply teabag preparations.

Above all, sleep hygiene is incredibly important. Gaining good sleep habits and following a successful sleep routine gets your body ready for bed, and the more you practise this regime the easier it will become over a period of weeks. Having a relaxing drink is certainly one thing to add to your routine but there are many more tips you can follow which you can read about in my blog all about sleep hygiene.

In the meantime Night Night!


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